“What makes you a real runner” : the conclusion
It’s a well documented fact that ever since the first time I laced up and went for a run, I have had this inner turmoil of not feeling like a real runner. There have been lists made that declared me a runner, and a few times where I’ve come close to feeling pretty legit. But I always felt like I was an imposter, like someone would call my bluff. Ever since I began running I’ve been trying to figure out what would be the tipping point to making me feel like part of the club. I decided that if ANYTHING, running a half marathon must be it- right? And so for the last few months I’ve been building up this great anticipation for the “Aha!” moment that I would feel as soon as I crossed the finish line. I figured light would shine down from above, confetti would be dumped over my head, and I would have a flashing neon sign on my back that said “Real Runner”. Ok clearly I’m exaggerating- but you get what I’m trying to say.
So imagine my “disappointment” (for lack of better words) when I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon… and none of those things happened. Did I feel proud? Absolutely. Accomplished? Of course. Exhausted? That too. Did I have a shit eating grin on my face? You bet your ass I did. But truth be told- I felt the same as I did the day before. And the day before that. And then the real light shined on me.
I didn’t feel any different, any more of a “real runner” well… because I am one. I’ve been one. I know this isn’t rocket science. I know this has been said to me enough times to make a person’s head spin- but some things you’ve gotta figure out yourself. I get it now. Finishing a half marathon didn’t make me feel any more of a real runner because that’s who I’ve been all along.
I was a runner that very first Saturday morning when I huffed and puffed from light pole to light pole on the beach. I was a runner when I forced myself to continue all summer, because I was convinced I would eventually get it. I was a runner when I woke up early every morning on vacation because I craved that peaceful path on the California Coast. I was a runner the first time I ran a mile, 5 miles, double digits, 13.1 miles. The first time I awkwardly tried to pin my bib on straight. When I finally ran a 5K without stopping to walk once. When I got so lost in my thoughts, I forgot I was running.
I was a runner when I realized I could run and answer yes or no questions. When I was able to run and hold an entire conversation. When running became a way for a friend and I to vent, to decompress, to become closer. When I realized I had a whole group of friends… who were runners too.
I was a runner when I got my first runner wave. My first (and second, and third, and forth) pair of running shoes. My first blister. My first foam roller. When I stood at Mile 25 of the Boston Marathon, 65 pounds overweight, thinking “there’s no way in hell I could ever do this”… but with a slight pang of jealousy. And then when I stood at the finish line a year later and thought “I will do this someday”.
I was a runner when I ran in the snow, in the rain, in the dark, in a mid-July heat wave. When I ran 3 races in 2 weeks. When the urgent care doctor asked me why I would run if it hurt- and I looked at her like she had asked the dumbest question in the entire world. When I went for a run because I was upset, because I was angry, because I was incredibly happy.
I’ve been a runner all this time, from day one. I am a runner because I have good runs, bad runs, and in between runs. Because no matter how shitty the run I am ready to give it my all again the next day. I am a runner because running makes me feel alive. Because all I want is to run better, run faster, run further, run harder. I want PRs and new goals. I am a runner because I feel it in my soul- it’s been there long before my legs and lungs could figure out a way to all work together in unison. It didn’t take 13.1 miles for me to be a real runner, it just took 13.1 miles for me to understand it.
Posted on November 15, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged athlete, challenges, comfort zone, endurance, goals, half marathon, marathon, running, self confidence, training. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.